(Click for a larger version, and click through to read more about our picks.)
Our panelists, listed above in no particular order, are:
Only three of us are predicting a repeat of last year's Vanier matchup, but we all chose either McMaster or Laval to win it. As expected, there is more disagreement on who will win the Canada West/OUA bowl game than there is on whether Laval will win (or, in one case, Montreal).
Also, no two ballots are exactly alike.
Some assorted comments from our panel:
There are 10 teams capable of making it to the big game; Laval, McMaster, Calgary, Regina, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Queen`s, Montreal, Western and Sherbrooke.-- Jim Mullin
AUS: Acadia over SMU... Axemen have the momentum and the best QB in Atlantic Time Zone.
RSEQ: Laval over Montreal... Sene vs. Fred-o and AGN. Two versus one isn't fair.
OUA: McMaster over Queen's... A young (Golden) Gaels team comes of age with an upset in the playoffs, but Quinlan and DiCroce are too much at Joyce.
CW: Calgary over Saskatchewan... The Huskies upset the Rams on the road, but don't have the horses to push around a team with 7 of 8 All-Canadian returning.
AUS v. RSEQ - Laval over Acadia... This mismatch makes the case for reformation of the CIS playoffs.
OUA v. CW - McMaster over Calgary... This game will be the most epic matchup of the season and will not disappoint. I only give this to Mac because of home field advantage.
Vanier: Laval 28 McMaster 26... Predicting a score on a national championship game three months out makes me a fool or it could be a desperate cry for attention.
RSEQ: Laval (easy, but automatic, considering who they are)-- Perry King
OUA: Western (Kyle Quinlan may be back at Mac, but the Mustangs will a lot of pressure to perform—I'm guessing they will be able to succeed)
AUS: St. FX (not a strong schedule, so they'll have a chance at topping Acadia)
Canada West: Calgary (with UBC maybe making it close)
Vanier Cup matchup: Western vs. Laval (the dream matchup!), with Laval winning a close one.
AUS: Acadia. Great continuity from a 2011 team that won the conference and had the eventual Vanier champs up against the wall early in the Uteck Bowl, plus some star power with Kyle Graves.-- Brian Decker
QUFL: Laval. I'm also looking forward to seeing many Fredo Plesius highlights this year, and also, they're Laval.
OUA: McMaster. The balance of power in the OUA has fully shifted to Hamilton, but so have the expectations - something they were able to avoid most of last year. Still, too much firepower for some improved OUA squads to take down.
CWUAA: Regina. Would be great to see Marc Mueller come back and play like he was expected to last year before his injury.
The fourth and final instalment of the Kyle Quinlan Show should be great (and hopefully less turbulent than 2011). Recent injuries are a concern - Chris Pezzetta was subtly a beast in their Vanier run [Ed. note: but is out for the year -RP], and Mike DiCroce starting the season on the sidelines is a concern - but they're so deep and creative on offence it shouldn't be a problem. Between Quinlan, a suddenly seasoned defence and great overall depth, it's hard to best against Mac in 2012.